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B1295 - Drug (Decriminalisation) Bill 2017 Watch

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    B1295 - Drug (Decriminalisation) Bill 2017, TSR Libertarian Party



    Drug (Decriminalisation) Bill 2017

    An Act to modernise and reform drug laws in order to allow adults in possession of a license for recreational use to purchase and consume psychoactive substances; to distribute licenses for the production and trade of psychoactive substances; and to put in place safeguards and regulation for the use and trade of psychoactive substances.

    BE IT ENACTED by The Queen's most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Commons in this present Parliament assembled, in accordance with the provisions of the Parliament Acts 1911 and 1949, and by the authority of the same, as follows:

    1: Definitions

    Psychoactive Substance (as defined in the Psychoactive Substances Act 2016): Anything which by stimulating or depressing the person’s central nervous system affects the person’s mental functioning or emotional state, but not including alcohol, tobacco or nicotine-based products, caffeine, food and drink or medicinal products.

    2: Drug Classifications

    A. The following substances shall be reclassified as Class B substances:

    • Cocaine
    • Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD)
    • Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA)
    • Psilocybin mushrooms (Magic mushrooms)
    • Dimethyltryptamine (DMT)

    B. Class C shall be abolished and substances currently classified as Class C substances shall be reclassified as Class B substances.

    C. Unclassified psychoactive substances (regulated under the Psychoactive Substances Act 2016 but not including cannabis/cannabinol) shall be treated as Class B substances unless otherwise stated.

    3: Regulation

    A. Individuals found in possession of (or having used) a psychoactive substance without a license or prescription or a Class A substance without a prescription shall be required to undergo a process of rehabilitation as defined by the Home Office but not subject to a fine or custodial sentence; failure to meet the expectations of the court shall be met with no higher than a £50 fine per month.

    B. Psychoactive Substance Licenses shall be issued on a “shall-issue” basis as long as the individual in question is 18 years of age or above and any individual or business supplying psychoactive substances is expected to request to see the license of the purchaser; any person in breach of this is liable to a fine of no higher than £2,000 and a custodial sentence of no more than 2 years. A special Psychoactive Substance License shall need to be purchased by those who wish to produce psychoactive substances, and a Psychoactive Substance Quality Commission shall be formed and regulated by the Home Office in order to inspect the production of psychoactive substances.

    C. Psychoactive Substance Licenses shall be rescinded by court if an individual commits a crime involving or under the influence of a psychoactive substance, including knowingly supplying an individual without a license or being in possession of a Class A substance. The right to own a Psychoactive Substance License will be returned by court if there is no reason to doubt they will commit a crime involving psychoactive substances again.

    D. Individuals will be able to apply for a license on a government-owned website under the URL www.druginformation.gov.uk. In addition, this website shall include information about psychoactive substances and serve as a clear, truthful and educational guide.

    E. Value Added Tax levied on psychoactive substances shall be pinned at the standard rate.

    4: Supplying

    A. It shall not be an offence to supply a Class B substance to another individual in possession of a license and it shall be the responsibility of the individual purchasing a psychoactive substance to understand the risks of what they are purchasing.

    B. It shall remain an offence to supply a Class A substance and individuals who are charged with supplying or intending to supply shall be liable to an unlimited fine and a custodial sentence of no more than 14 years.

    C. The LSD, Psilocin and DMT Bill 2015 shall be repealed, with the drugs moved to Class B substances under this bill. Businesses who wish to supply psychoactive substances in visible establishments must be over 250 meters walking distance away from the nearest school.

    D. The Cannabis Legalisation Bill 2015, which excluded Cannabis from being classified, remains separate from this bill and those wishing to supply Cannabis must still apply for a license from the Council Licensing Authority. It shall be amended to be taxed at the standard rate of Value Added Tax.

    5: Commencement, Short Title, Extent and Conditions

    A. This bill may be cited as the Drug (Decriminalisation) Act 2017.

    B. This bill shall extend to the United Kingdom.

    C. This bill shall come into force immediately and individuals will be able to apply for a Psychoactive Substance License upon the creation of www.druginformation.gov.uk.

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    The War on Drugs has consistently been lost. Despite prohibition, 8.4% of 16-59 year-olds have used an illegal substance - in the past year alone. Furthermore, a much higher percentage of people have used an illegal substance in their lifetime. A market cannot be eliminated by government regulation, yet it is still attempted. People who have done nothing to harm others but chosen to use illegal substances face the risk of being locked away from society and treated like a violent, dangerous criminal. It is those who lack opportunities and privilege that are disproportionately affected by this nation's unjust laws; criminal records hurting the chances of many working class individuals from acheiving their dreams or merely improving their lives. The electorate agree - 86% of people do not want stricter laws enacted. Nonetheless, Parliament continues to ignore this issue even after Prince William called for a national conversation on the topic.

    In 2015, this house voted for the legalisation of cannabis. Finally, the most popular illegal substance that possesses little difference to alcohol was no longer a criminal offence to consume, following the example of many fellow European countries. So, why draw the line at this point? People will point out that other illegal substances are worse than cannabis. Whilst this might be true, it is evident that their negative effects are worsened by the conditions in which they are sold. LSD is an example of this: overdoses are rare and its naturally low risk is heightened by poisonous additives. Magic mushrooms, in addition, have a similar level of risk. Poor standards and a lack of information cause drugs that are still fundamentally positive for the large majority of users to be more risky, yet they remain illegal causing change to be impossible.

    As outlined in this article, many legal goods can also cause serious harm - including death. In the United States, 40 people a year die from skiing or snowboarding accidents; 800 from bicycle accidents; over 20,000 a year from pharmaceuticals; more than 30,000 a year from car accidents and at least 38,000 from alcohol. Regardless, they remain legal allowing people to understand the risks of the goods they purchase and allowing their respective industries to be regulated. Consequently, the same philosophy should be applied to drugs. They hold a low risk of accidents, yet they can provide satisfaction in the same manner the aforementioned goods do. Addiction is another, harmful side-effect. Would it be correct, in that case, to ban the trade of food. After all, it can cause health problems or even death in certain people! Of course, that sounds ludicros. An drug addict needs help, not a criminal record, in order to live a better life. The overwhelming majority of people agree that this is the case with alcohol. Therefore, it is our suggestion that it is also the case with other drugs.

    This bill legalises and regulates the use and trade of a plethora of drugs, most notably: Speed, Codeine, Ketamine, Cocaine, MDMA, LSD, Magic Mushrooms and DMT (the last three were legalised in 2015 but their production was made expensive, making it unappealing to produce them within the law). Cocaine is the most controversial of all these, yet it is used by 2.2% of 16-59 year-olds, making it the second most popular illegal substance. The case for its legalisation is much larger than for similarly addictive and harmful Class A substances, as it affects a surprisingly large amount of people and therefore it is massively essential that it is sold at a high standard. This will also serve effectively to reduce demand for damaging and unkown 'legal highs', by increasing demand for safer substances that people are more knowledgeable about. Whilst a larger proportion of the population will use drugs, this does not need to be an issue. Portugal, known for its decriminalisation of all drugs, has the second lowest overdose rate in the EU - and it is considerably lower than that of the United Kingdom.

    Similarly to Portugal's laws, this bill not only legalises less dangerous drugs but achieves the decriminalisation of all drugs - heroin or meth use will no longer be treated by time in the prison system and hindered work opportunities. Rather, upon the passing of this bill it will be treated with rehabilitation to ensure that people have the greatest possible chance of recovering to play a positive role in society. It does, however, ensure safeguards are in place. The class system remains and drugs classed as Class A (like the aforementioned two) will be strongly illegal to supply. A license system will be instituted to ensure that there is adequate control over the individuals who retain the right to use the drugs they wish to use, and that the right to use drugs is taken away where crime is pressent. Supplying Class B drugs is not a criminal offence, but its production must be undergone by those with special licenses, and those who produce Class B drugs will be regularly inspected. It is in conclusion that I appeal to all members of Parliament to vote in favour of this bill - it is an arm of compassion and extension of trust that is long overdue.

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    A sensible bill from the Libertarians? Aye.

    I didn't think I'd see the day a well written bill with decent notes came out of that party.
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    So, this would legalise Spice and Black Mamba?

    Being Portuguese myself, I have seen firsthand the positive impact of treating the possession of drugs as a medical issue, not a criminal one. However, Spice and Black Mamba are horrific drugs that should not be legalised.

    Hence, I hope that, whilst the possession of the aforementioned drugs may not necessarily constitute a criminal offence, no license is offered to any business or entity to sell such poisonous and deadly drugs.
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    I have always been torn on the matter, but this is a well written bill which I think I can get behind.

    Aye
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    I think I'd like to see the tax on this raised. This is far below alcohol and tobacco. People who use drugs are more likely to be a drain on our national health service so paying higher taxes for that keeps this from being a drain on our health system and also acts as a deterrent against addiction and heavy use.

    I would also like to see mandatory warning labels and the removal of the line "it shall be the responsibility of the individual purchasing a psychoactive substance to understand the risks of what they are purchasing" as I can see this being abused in court with the risk of all consumer rights being removed with this one line.

    D would need to see some funds allocated to cover that research given the state of information of drugs from the government at the moment.

    Given a few changes I would vote for this.
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    3(B) - the punishment for this should be harsher. Supplying alcohol to people under age is max £5000 fine. And there should be increased fines if it happens regularly and removing their license or preventing the sale of alcohol for a period of time if it persists.
    3(E) - increase the tax.
    4(C) - should be more.
    4(D) - that's not how you make amendments and I oppose this. The tax is fine.

    It's a nay at the moment.
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    I also agree with ns_2 about the Spice and Black Mamba. I live in Birmingham and it's quite easy to see the effects of it, especially with the homeless. The drug is dangerous and that definitely shouldn't be legalised.
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    (Original post by Afcwimbledon2)
    A sensible bill from the Libertarians? Aye.

    I didn't think I'd see the day a well written bill with decent notes came out of that party.
    I'll take it as a compliment - thank you

    (Original post by ns_2)
    So, this would legalise Spice and Black Mamba? Being Portuguese myself, I have seen firsthand the positive impact of treating the possession of drugs as a medical issue, not a criminal one. However, Spice and Black Mamba are horrific drugs that should not be legalised. Hence, I hope that, whilst the possession of the aforementioned drugs may not necessarily constitute a criminal offence, no license is offered to any business or entity to sell such poisonous and deadly drugs.
    I agree that Portugal is a great example of why drugs should be treated as a medical issue, although it is important to note that this bill goes further than Portugese law does in legalising all but the most harmful drugs rather than merely decriminalising them. I understand your concerns about Spice and Black Mamba and will reclassify them as Class A substances before this goes to division; I would welcome any other suggestions as to how I can change laws with regard to the drugs covered under the Psychoactive Substances Act 2016.

    (Original post by Tommy1boy)
    I have always been torn on the matter, but this is a well written bill which I think I can get behind.

    Aye

    Glad to see your support.

    (Original post by DayneD89)
    I think I'd like to see the tax on this raised. This is far below alcohol and tobacco. People who use drugs are more likely to be a drain on our national health service so paying higher taxes for that keeps this from being a drain on our health system and also acts as a deterrent against addiction and heavy use.

    I would also like to see mandatory warning labels and the removal of the line "it shall be the responsibility of the individual purchasing a psychoactive substance to understand the risks of what they are purchasing" as I can see this being abused in court with the risk of all consumer rights being removed with this one line.

    D would need to see some funds allocated to cover that research given the state of information of drugs from the government at the moment.

    Given a few changes I would vote for this.

    With regard to taxation, it was something I wrestled with when writing this bill. Whilst it is considerably below the amount levied on alcohol and tobacco, one of the purposes of this bill (and the Cannabis Legalisation Bill 2015 which this amends) is to incentivise people to purchase drugs from reputable and licensed traders rather than street dealers that will potentially pursue profit maximisation to the extent where they would put their customers at risk, whether that be through low-cost and low-quality goods or mixing drugs. Nonetheless, considering the existence of the National Health Service, a Pigovian tax of some form is necessary so that healthy taxpayers do not face the burden of people's poor decisions. For that reason, I chose to set VAT at the standard rate and I stand by that. A raise could, however, be acceptable in the future but upon the enacting of this bill it would simply be counter-intuitive.

    Whilst I believe warning labels to the extent at which they are seen in the tobacco industry would be a form of government overreach, I accept your concerns about the line "it shall be the responsibility of the individual purchasing a psychoactive substance to understand the risks of what they are purchasing". It was my intention to defend the right of licensed adults to trade legal substances with other licensed adults, but this will need amending if it is not to be abused in court. I will need to think over this one but my first thought is that it would be best to require drugs to be packaged with a label outlining what it contains. Any feedback as to how I could rewrite this line would be appreciated.

    As for information, I find that http://www.talktofrank.com/ is greatly informative and adequately impartial. I did not actually realise until this point that it is government owned. Therefore, further funding will not be necessary and instead I will find a way to integrate it with the new website for processing licenses that is created through the passing of this bill.

    I hope that by the point the bill reaches division you will be able to vote for it.

    (Original post by CoffeeGeek)
    3(B) - the punishment for this should be harsher. Supplying alcohol to people under age is max £5000 fine. And there should be increased fines if it happens regularly and removing their license or preventing the sale of alcohol for a period of time if it persists.
    3(E) - increase the tax.
    4(C) - should be more.
    4(D) - that's not how you make amendments and I oppose this. The tax is fine.

    It's a nay at the moment.

    I shall increase the fine to what it is set as for alcohol, this is a fair criticism. I will also amend it to allow harsher punishments for repeat offenders. As for taxation, see my response to DayneD89 above - I won't be changing the rate drugs are taxed at under this bill and will keep the amendment in place (your concern is noted, however, and I will change it so that the amendment is made correctly).
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    I'll always vote Aye on legislation that brings us closer to drug legalisation but this one is with dissappointment. A Libertarian bill that doesn't legalise all drugs simply isn't good enough and I don't care if that reduces the chances of it succeeding.
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    (Original post by Conceited)
    I'll always vote Aye on legislation that brings us closer to drug legalisation but this one is with dissappointment. A Libertarian bill that doesn't legalise all drugs simply isn't good enough and I don't care if that reduces the chances of it succeeding.
    Hear Hear. I will still be voting for this bill but I am disappointed that the Libertarians decided to not be as bold as they could have. They could have submitted this toned down version as a second reading if absolutely necessary
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    (Original post by PetrosAC)
    Hear Hear. I will still be voting for this bill but I am disappointed that the Libertarians decided to not be as bold as they could have. They could have submitted this toned down version as a second reading if absolutely necessary
    As I have stated multiple times elsewhere, I wanted to split the legalisation of Class B and Class A drugs into two separate bills - this being the first.

    Sorry for my pragmatism.
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    (Original post by Saunders16)
    As I have stated multiple times elsewhere, I wanted to split the legalisation of Class B and Class A drugs into two separate bills - this being the first.

    Sorry for my pragmatism.
    I just feel that when trying to pass something controversial it is better to start off bold and then compromise rather than compromise and then compromise some more.

    Well written bill though so props to the Libbers for that
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    I will also be looking to resubmit the Government's Drug Decrim Bill from last term as I believe it resolves issues more effectively.
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    A strong aye - DayneD89 do you honestly think as libertarians we would implement heavy taxation on drugs? lol...

    I would also like to have seen full legalisation but that will come in due course if this passes, but it is important to make the first step on this incredibly detailed and well written bill (best piece of legislation this term?)

    As for Afcwimbledon2's comment; at least our party actually produces bills, how many have your three parties in government produced this term with an inbuilt majority to pass virtually anything you want?
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    Aye. Getting drugs legalised will reduce the black market for illegal drugs significantly, and it will be easier to identify possible addicts and those who need help.
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    (Original post by PetrosAC)
    I just feel that when trying to pass something controversial it is better to start off bold and then compromise rather than compromise and then compromise some more. Well written bill though so props to the Libbers for that
    Normally, I would take this approach. I have, personally, grown to support the legalisation of Class A drugs in past months but it is clear that there is quite a large group of people that will base their support on this particular bill on Class A drugs and similar drugs (Spice, Black Mamba) not being fully legalised. I feel it would be wrong if I was to try and push something so important through with a small minority, rather than to try and find some form of consensus around the house. Additionally, phasing the legalisation of Class A drugs out at a different point (if that bill was to pass) would allow their place in the market to be replaced with less dangerous drugs and reduce demand so that their legalisation would be less harmful to public health.


    (Original post by TheDefiniteArticle)
    I will also be looking to resubmit the Government's Drug Decrim Bill from last term as I believe it resolves issues more effectively.
    Would you be able to send me that bill? I was unable to find it on Hansard. If there are any concerns you have about this bill I would be happy to address them; I really believe that this bill is the best way to go about things.

    As a quick note, whilst browsing Hansard I discovered that the LSD, Psilocin and DMT Bill 2015 was repealed by the Hallucinogens Research Bill 2016 which recriminalised the use of hallucinogenic drugs. As a result, this is another thing that I will address when looking at the bill again. I think this serves as an important reminder that it is best to seek more consensus on issues like this or risk having it repealed - in full or in part - in the future.

    (Original post by Connor27)
    A strong aye - DayneD89 do you honestly think as libertarians we would implement heavy taxation on drugs? lol...

    I would also like to have seen full legalisation but that will come in due course if this passes, but it is important to make the first step on this incredibly detailed and well written bill (best piece of legislation this term?)

    As for Afcwimbledon2's comment; at least our party actually produces bills, how many have your three parties in government produced this term with an inbuilt majority to pass virtually anything you want?

    Thank you Connor27 for your comment - I think we will need to see how this bill looks after slight changes are made to it first. I take the view that progression is best in small stages - which for us, is the progression towards a libertarian society - which you'd expect a governmental party to understand
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    (Original post by Connor27)
    A strong aye - DayneD89 do you honestly think as libertarians we would implement heavy taxation on drugs? lol...

    I would also like to have seen full legalisation but that will come in due course if this passes, but it is important to make the first step on this incredibly detailed and well written bill (best piece of legislation this term?)

    As for Afcwimbledon2's comment; at least our party actually produces bills, how many have your three parties in government produced this term with an inbuilt majority to pass virtually anything you want?
    Sorry for going off topic, but it is comments like this one that stops people working with the Libertarians. The Libbers come up with great policy ideas, have a fairly strong membership, are capable of producing well written bills, but then they have members that feel the need to be petty and aggressive at every opportunity.

    Connor - You don't have to make a political point with every comment you make, because eventually you will alienate your party. Sometimes it's better to just say "As a Libertarian, I wouldn't support increasing tax on this bill. I would have liked to have seen full legalisation, but it is important to take small steps and attempt to find consensus in the house, rather than trying to rush a controversial bill and have it possibly fail".

    Again, apologies for going off-topic, only thing I'll say on the matter
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    (Original post by Saunders16)
    Normally, I would take this approach. I have, personally, grown to support the legalisation of Class A drugs in past months but it is clear that there is quite a large group of people that will base their support on this particular bill on Class A drugs and similar drugs (Spice, Black Mamba) not being fully legalised. I feel it would be wrong if I was to try and push something so important through with a small minority, rather than to try and find some form of consensus around the house. Additionally, phasing the legalisation of Class A drugs out at a different point (if that bill was to pass) would allow their place in the market to be replaced with less dangerous drugs and reduce demand so that their legalisation would be less harmful to public health.




    Would you be able to send me that bill? I was unable to find it on Hansard. If there are any concerns you have about this bill I would be happy to address them; I really believe that this bill is the best way to go about things.

    As a quick note, whilst browsing Hansard I discovered that the LSD, Psilocin and DMT Bill 2015 was repealed by the Hallucinogens Research Bill 2016 which recriminalised the use of hallucinogenic drugs. As a result, this is another thing that I will address when looking at the bill again. I think this serves as an important reminder that it is best to seek more consensus on issues like this or risk having it repealed - in full or in part - in the future.




    Thank you Connor27 for your comment - I think we will need to see how this bill looks after slight changes are made to it first. I take the view that progression is best in small stages - which for us, is the progression towards a libertarian society - which you'd expect a governmental party to understand
    Fair enough. I can completely see your reasoning, though I still would have liked to have seen a bold first reading even if you had no intention of letting it go to division in that form just to state your intentions and eventual commitment to full drug legalisation
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    (Original post by PetrosAC)
    Sorry for going off topic, but it is comments like this one that stops people working with the Libertarians. The Libbers come up with great policy ideas, have a fairly strong membership, are capable of producing well written bills, but then they have members that feel the need to be petty and aggressive at every opportunity.

    Connor - You don't have to make a political point with every comment you make, because eventually you will alienate your party. Sometimes it's better to just say "As a Libertarian, I wouldn't support increasing tax on this bill. I would have liked to have seen full legalisation, but it is important to take small steps and attempt to find consensus in the house, rather than trying to rush a controversial bill and have it possibly fail".

    Again, apologies for going off-topic, only thing I'll say on the matter
    While connors comments were petty we should look at where the original pettiness came from, it’s disappointing that the leader of a party we should be close with started the petty comments and especially after he has recently had comments removed for bullying.
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    (Original post by joecphillips)
    While connors comments were petty we should look at where the original pettiness came from, it’s disappointing that the leader of a party we should be close with started the petty comments and especially after he has recently had comments removed for bullying.
    I'm not going to talk about the past Joe, I'm talking about this now. We can't continue you like this. The pettiness and toxicity around this place brings the whole MHoC down
 
 
 
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